'Inspired to Lead' Young Alumni Ashley (Kilker) and Justin Powell

Ever the enterprising business student, Justin Powell (‘07) supplemented his study abroad trip to Germany by using his karaoke skills at a local pub. As Justin tells it now, “every Wednesday night they would draw a winner for a 50 euro gift certificate. I was able to win 3 times which allowed me to pay for all of my friend’s expenses and in turn take cash from them to help me survive a few weeks longer in Germany... I had to be creative to truly survive my way through the semester.” Married to Breech alumna Ashley (Kilker ‘07), conversations about their time at Drury and experiences at Breech occur frequently as Justin and Ashley continue their successful careers as Director of Global Integrated Processes at Wal-Mart and Business Development Manager at Shopper Event.  Both are thankful for the lessons they learned at Breech in the classroom and through the opportunity to network with a variety of business leaders. They also knew they wanted to give back and give back they did by helping to sponsor the first Breech Study Abroad Honor Reception and contribute to the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship fund.

For Justin and Ashley, studying abroad while at Drury was “truly a life changing experience that allowed [them] to grow personally, meet lifelong friends from around the world (and therefore continue to travel after graduation to visit them), and gain perspective of the world we live in.” When they learned of the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship fund, they knew this was the perfect fit for their support of Breech. They knew the difference having a few extra dollars would have made on their own trips, thereby reducing the pressure and stress and allowing for more enjoyment of the experience.

In support of their passion for study abroad, Ashley and Justin hosted the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship Honor Reception in the Breech School of Business on September 26.  Held in the Breech lounge, Greek food and beverages set the international mood and donors, recipients, faculty, students, and supporters met together to celebrate the first year of the scholarship fund. The stories by Brooke Hickman, Sarah Burrows, and Denise Taylor about the difference the scholarship made in their ability to fund the trip and the experiences they had on their travel moved the room. Dr. Shirley was also able to announce those that had stepped up to support full scholarships of $2500. Along with Justin and Ashley Powell, Jane and Tim Bennett sponsored a scholarship and Curtis Dinan, with matching funds from ONEOK, supported two scholarships. Additional good news came after the event, when so moved by what they learned at the event, Leaster and Jayme Gibson also donated a scholarship.

Two years after the project management students started the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, the program is actively making a difference in the lives of our students. Talking about the experience Justin notes, “We encourage all alums to look for a fund that speaks to them. Whether that is the Drury Fund or a department/scholarship specific fund, find the one for you and contribute. A few dollars goes a long way to helping our school and the students that attend it, so no amount is too little.” To find out more about opportunities to support students at the Breech School of Business contact Dr. Michael Shirley, mshirley@drury.edu or go directly to our give to Breech webpage.